Turning left at a complicated T intersection

Discussion in 'Commuting and Road Safety' started by jpwkeeper, Sep 28, 2012.

  1. jpwkeeper

    jpwkeeper Member

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    So, approaching a T intersection in a, let's call it suburban area. 4 lane stops at a 2 lane. The approach is downhill, then gets complicated as the intersection is highly engineered. No bike lanes anywhere to be had either.

    It turns into one lane that peels off to a sheetz on the right, two lanes that bear right (not outright turn, they actually curve right with a triangular island on the left) then the turn lane for the left which is sandwiched between a concrete lane divider and said triangle.

    Sorry for no picture, but I can't upload for some reason. However if you want to see it, go to google maps in satellite view and use the following address: I'd be coming south:

    20760 Old Great Mills Road, Great Mills, MD

    The road that forms the cross of the T also has a concrete divider across it, meaning the "turn right then U turn" trick would take me a ways out of my way since I'd have to circle the barrier, and the intersection is no picknick going straight through from the other side either.

    Obviously plan A is to get into the left turn lane. But a downhill approach and at least moderate usage of this road makes that very sketchy. I might be able to stay right and use cross-walks to get into the left turn lane, but if there are other cars there I'd actually have to walk my bike back against traffic to get in line.

    There is no crosswalk to get to the far side of the crossing road either.

    So what is the safest way to turn left here? It's seriously scaring me, but past this is a glorious and scenic ride with low traffic and big shoulders that ends in a historic area.
     
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  2. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Take the turn lane. Get right in the middle of it. The second option would be to get in the rightmost lane heading straight, proceed through the intersection, then pull to the right and stop at the far curb, on the right, of the crossroad. Pivot your bike CCW 90°. Then, when you get the green, proceed straight through.
     
  3. jpr95

    jpr95 Active Member

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    I agree with alienator. As you're coming down the hill, take command of the left turn lane. You'll be most visible in the center of the lane, and people won't try to squeeze by you. By doing so confidently, your actions tell the drivers that you're a vehicle, too, with all the same rights and privileges of the roadway.
     
  4. jpwkeeper

    jpwkeeper Member

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    Thanks guys, I appreciate the input.

    I know that my best course of action is the turn lane. My dilemma is how to get to it safely and what to do if I can't. It's a down-hill approach, two lanes to cross to get to it, a developing extra right turn lane to contend with, and it's a fairly well used intersection.

    I can't go through the intersection as there is no through. The two other lanes bear right, and there's a divider in the road since it's a T intersection. Even the dogleg to the right around Sheetz has a divider at the end.
     
  5. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    If traffic is problematic, you can slow and stop before the intersection to wait for an opening.
     
  6. jpwkeeper

    jpwkeeper Member

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    That's true. Maybe I'm thinking too much like a car and not enough like a bike.
     
  7. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    In Tucson there were a couple of roads where at the right (or wrong, depending on how you look at things), it could be challenging to get to the left turn lane. On said roads I would occasionally use the "stop early" trick, availing myself of a driveway or summat. Stopping in such an entrance allowed me a better view of traffic and was a bit protected.
     
  8. jpwkeeper

    jpwkeeper Member

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    And the light bulb goes on.

    Approaching the intersection, there is a sheetz on the right that is basically an island which is wrapped in sidewalk. Other than the sheetz, there is nothing on this island, and the sheetz is all the way butting up to the T, so there are no entrances for cars to come out of and, honestly, not very likely that there will be pedestrians on that stretch (looking at it I wonder why there's even a sidewalk there), so while I normally avoid sidewalks like the plague, in this case it's actually pretty perfect. The sidewalk actually has a ramp from my approach direction. If I'm not clear, I can ride up onto the sidewalk and stop there, completely safe till a gap appears, then ride right off the edge of the sidewalk cross over into the turn lane.

    You da man alienator.
     
  9. jpr95

    jpr95 Active Member

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    What the heck is a "sheetz"? Never heard/seen that term before.
     
  10. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    And what the heck is a "summat"?
     
  11. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Sheetz is a chain of gas station/convenience stores blighting the East and Midwest. Drunks like them because they have what Sheetz claims is a deli, and the drunks can get sandwiches on stale bread any time of day. With what seems like 30 or 40 gas pumps and having at least two locations in the smallest of towns, Sheetz is an American car culture cumshot.
     
  12. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    It's like "something" or summat.
     
  13. jpr95

    jpr95 Active Member

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    Gotcha--haven't seen them polluting Indiana, yet, but we have our own drunk/thug-magnets.
     
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